Green laws ripe for reform

15th September 2011


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • EU ,
  • UK government ,
  • Environment agencies



Concern about the quality and effectiveness of environmental regulation in the UK has been voiced by lawyers in an interim report for a project by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) and King's College London.

Legal practitioners believe environmental regulation lacks coherence, integration and transparency, says the report.

The project, looking at the quality of the UK’s environmental laws, has discovered confusion in several areas, including over an agreed definition of waste, the duty to conduct an appropriate assessment under the Habitats Regulations, and what constitutes “equivalent” amounts of electronic waste under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.

Eloise Scotford, main author of the report and law lecturer at King’s College, told the environmentalist the research gives credence to anecdotal evidence that lawyers and environment professionals are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate UK environmental legislation.

“There’s a high volume of statutes in UK environmental law and no logical boundaries, so it is particularly susceptible to incomprehensible and inaccessible regulation,” she says.

Scotford also says it would be wrong to wholly blame the EU – which is the source of the majority of environmental legislation – for the poor quality of UK laws.

“The UK is not very good at transposing EU Directives; too often it ends up rushing through regulations to meet transposition deadlines,” she explains.

On a more positive note, the lawyers generally welcome developments to condense and simplify legislation, particularly recent changes to the Environmental Permitting Regulations in England and Wales, and the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Regulations in Scotland.

The final report from UKELA and King’s is due to be published in February.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Fifth of UK food firms unprepared for deforestation regulation

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

28th November 2023

Read more

Environmental crimes could result in prison sentences of up to 10 years and company fines of 5% of turnover under a proposed EU law agreed by the European parliament and council.

21st November 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close